Weekly Check In: My Car Might Be Finished

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So two weekends ago I was coming home from dinner at State Street Grill in Clarks Summit with my brother and our friend Seth, when, at 31 years of age, I hit my first deer.

I was pretty proud of myself in the moment. Back in college, I one time swerved to miss a deer and almost became a human kebab. I mean that literally. My car flew off of the road and a pre-downed tree impaled itself through the windshield. This deer came out of no where, and with little time to react, I drove through it. In fact, when it happened, it was like it barely registered. I saw the deer, I was aware I hit it, and aware that it flew up and over my car, but the impact felt like hitting an empty trashcan or cardboard box on the highway. I wasn’t rattled either. I was pissed, obviously, and concerned that my car might be damaged beyond repair, but after going out and viewing said damage, and driving my car home without incident, I figured I was in the clear. It sucks when you hit anything and damage your car, but this felt like it was the best outcome for a shitty situation, and I assumed insurance would cover what I assumed was minimal damage to the grating in the front.  I sent the care to get an estimate and hoped for the best.

As per usual, I was wrong, and there’s over $3500.00 worth of damage to the car. Insurance was great, and is cutting me a check for said damage, but now I have to make the decision to either repair this vehicle, or simply invest those funds into a new one. Investing in a new vehicle is probably the smarter move. My car is a 2007, so just coming upon its 10th birthday. I’ve owned it since 2010, and haven’t always been the kindest to it. It has a few scrapes and scratches, and well over 100,000 miles.  It was getting to the point where it needed new tires, and was starting to get rusty around the wheel wells. I probably would’ve started looking to trade in for a younger model next summer, so the money probably would be better spent just investing in a whole new vehicle.

Here comes the curve-ball: I didn’t realize I was as attached to my car as I am.

I mean, I’ve always known I liked my car. I’m not a car guy, per say, so didn’t care that for the most part it’s a little outdated, and has seen better days. I’m a little outdated. I’ve seen better days. But when I got it, it was pretty snazzy (see, I’m outdated, I think nothing of typing “snazzy”), and among the sportier looking of my friends’ vehicles.  I enjoy its sunroof, and I enjoy the fact that it has nowhere for an auxiliary cable, so it forces me to make mixed CD’s, old-school style. It’s roomy for passengers, has more than enough trunk space, and more importantly drove well for the past seven years.

On a more nostalgic level, it was the first adult purchase I ever made. I was so proud when I was able to walk into a dealership, and emerge with a car I’d just purchased all on my own.  It’s been one of the only constants in my life over the past seven years, existing through five different apartments, two cities, and three jobs.  It’s without a doubt the place I’ve spent the bulk of my time, at least an hour everyday going to and from work, longer rides on weekends and in the summer, and been my surrogate apartment, office, and changing room. I don’t recall ever sleeping in it overnight, but I’ve taken my fair share of catnaps in its front seat. Some people truly dislike being in the car. I enjoy Saturday drives to nowhere, and longer rides where you could listen to 8 CD’s, or an entire audiobook or podcast. I do, and have done, some of my best thinking behind that wheel.

Then there’s all the trips I’ve been on, more than I have time to sit here and recount. Basically go through the archives of this blog, if you’d like an abbreviated history of everywhere that car has taken me. You know what the lamest thing is? I feel like I didn’t take it enough places, and I really most certainly did, but I feel like my car has never been west of Pittsburgh, and never south of DC, and I feel like it deserves to see more of this great country. This week, when I was still unsure of its fate, I was making grandiose promises to it, that if insurance just decided right then and there to fix it, that I’d immediately schedule an epic summer roadtrip to California, or Texas, or New Orleans, so that my car could have one last hoorah. I don’t think that’s in the cards though. And while it’s stupid in the long run that I’m this depressed over a piece of metal on four wheels, I do find solace in the fact that I got seven solid years of memories outta that guy.


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